One of the youngest victims of the Texas church massacre last Sunday is now in critical but stable condition after he was hit by five bullets during the horrific shooting that left 26 people dead and 20 more injured.
5-year-old Ryland Ward was at the First Baptist Church with his family when gunman Devin Patrick Kelley, a 26-year-old with a history of violence and domestic abuse, opened fire on worshipers at the Sunday service.
Ryland’s stepmother, Joann Ward, and sisters Brooke and Emily died that day, NBC News reported. But Ryland – who was found hiding under a church pew – suffered was riddled with five gunshot wounds.
When Ryland’s uncle Michael Ward found him, the little boy was miraculously alive and awake, but he was not talking. He was promptly airlifted to University Hospital in San Antonio where the surviving members of his family, including father Chris Ward, grandmother Sandy Ward, and 9-year-old sister Rihanna, had all arrived.
“We’re just waiting to find out what’s going to happen with my grandson,” Sandy Ward told MSNBC in the aftermath of the shooting.
As for her son, Sandy said that it was a day filled with pain beyond imagination. “He’s a wreck, of course, as you can imagine. I’m just in shock,” she managed.
According to a GoFundMe page set up by Heather Bradley, Ryland is currently breathing with the help of a respirator and is “looking to make it but going to be a long journey.”
“He was shot 5 times once in the elbow, twice in the stomach, and twice in the leg,” the fundraiser page reads.
So far, well-wishers have contributed nearly $60,000 to help offset the Ward family’s medical bills.